Friday, April 23, 2010

Battery Exchange Results

The table shows the results from the 2010 Red Deer Schools Battery Drive. Our thanks to all the schools who participated and to The City of Red Deer, Waste Management Division for funding the project.

Students in Red Deer collected 600kg more batteries this year than in 2009. Well done everybody.

Also, in support of the 20th anniversary of Earth Day (yesterday, April 22), the International League of Conservation Photographers posted the Top 40 nature photographs from the past 100 years. You can see them at Flikr by clicking here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tomorrow Would be a Good Day to Visit

Why would tomorrow be a good day to visit us here at the Nature Centre? Tomorrow morning, the hoarding and barriers around the bird blind entrance will be removed and you can go for your first walk on the new structure. The benches are in place, the second story deck is secured and telescope is sitting atop its new perch. For, now though you'll have to make do with this teaser shot, taken from the deck, looking south down West lake.

Friday, April 16, 2010

April, 2010

Some news from the Friends of the Kerry Wood Nature Bookstore

1.Bird Homes
Now is the time to put out the homes for birds. Our bookstore has a good selection of bird houses for wrens/chickadees and for bluebirds /tree swallows. Our staff will also give advice on how to successfully place your nest box.

2. Bug Boxes

Spring and summer are here and children are
learning and caring about bugs.
See our bookstore for a good selection of bug boxes.

3.New Books of Interest

a.For Children
1. Alphabet of Insects
Weevils,katydids, ladybugs & fireflies are just a few of the
insects featured in this book that has an accompanying sound CD.
Price 11.95, Grades 2-6
2. Alphabet of Earth
This book is illustrated and has an accompanying read along CD. It promotes the earth as a cleaner greener place to live and discusses deserts, jungles and forests. Price $11.95, Grades 2-6
3. For the young ones :Baby Polar Bear Learns to Swim.
A great board book about a young polar who is taught how to swim by his mother .Price $8.50

For Adults
1.The Owl and the Woodpecker

Based on thousands of hours in the field , this book showcases all 41 North American Species . A CD is included that has pictures and the sounds of the birds Price $32.95

Members of the Friends of the Kerry Wood Nature Centre receive a 10% discount on purchases.
For information call KWNC 403 346 2010 and ask for Bob

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday update

Here are the pictures from this morning (Thursday, April 15). The crew has made amazing progress over the day. Tomorrow morning, we should be walking on the finished product!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday's Bird Blind Update

It's Wednesday, April 14. The uprights on the blind are in place and the deck appears to be largely laid down. The crews have a busy day and a 1/2 ahead of them.

Stay tuned to this space and the local media outlets for info on completion dates and the official opening of the new blind and deck.

Until then, here are the newest pictures.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Brown Bears of Alaska talk this weekend!

Hello everyone! We've had a last minute, but welcome, addition to our schedule of events. On this coming Sunday, April 18, special guest Bryan Nelson will be here to present stories and pictures from his recent trip to Brooks Falls, Alaska. While in Alaska, Bryan spent many days observing Brown Bears (a.k.a. Grizzlies) and their antics during the annual Sockeye Salmon run.

The talk begins at 2:00 p.m. and admission is free, so come to the Nature Centre for what I'm sure will be an informative and entertaining afternoon!

(On a side note: Discovery Sunday for that day will be about bears, so if you've never touched a bear but would like to, check it out!)

See you Sunday!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bird Blind Update

Here is the 9:00 am, Monday morning picture. As you can see the build crew made good progress over the weekend. The long curved catwalk that leads to the blind is largely decked and the framers were out creating the structure that ties all the screw piles together. The latter will form the base and subfloor for the blind.

Keep watching this space. We'll be madly updating as the next three days progress.


Thursday, April 08, 2010

Bird blind work moves ahead

After (finally!) getting all their back-ordered materials delivered, the contractors are moving ahead on our new bird blind and viewing deck. The screw piles are in the ground, and the first woodwork is in place. Work is supposed to be complete by the 15th of April, so the contractors are going to have to work quickly.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Activity in The Sanctuary

Jim and Diane wrote a month or so ago, about the upcoming improvements to the bird blind in the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary. The old structure is gone, having been removed in four very large sections and then dissambled in the staff parking lot - temporarily converted to a worksite.

Yesterday there were a number of screw piles placed in the ground at the site of the new blind. They were placed so that the construction company could conduct a test on whether or not they would be acceptable.

A note on the screw piles. Because the bird blind is heavy and sitting out over a wetland (surrounded by water and resting on soft mud) the decision was made to have the structure raised up. This ensures minimal disturbance to the substrate and minimal interference with the plants and animals that call the Sanctuary home. Traditionally piles are pounded into place by a pile driver; a big, heavy piece of equipment that we certainly do not want crawling around in and destroying the wetland. They also create tremendous vibration in the ground and lots of noise pollution from all the pounding.

By contrast, screw piles are screwed into the ground by what essentially is a power auger mounted to the front of a small skid-steer or similar rubber-tracked vehicle, like a micro-excavator. So, the structure gets the supporting piles it needs to keep it from sinking and the Sanctuary - and all the critters that live there - experience significantly less disturbance to both themselves and their habitat.

So, now we wait a little bit longer. There are some brackets to come in from galvanizing that will be welded to the top of the screw piles and then things can get going in earnest. Just as the old structure came out in four big pieces, we expect that the new one will be built in large sections that will then be moved into place and bolted together. Our contractors should be commended for their willingness to work within the restrictions that such a fragile habitat places on them.

Keep visiting the Sanctuary over the next few weeks. The progress from now until the middle of April should be, shall we say, rapid.